MIAMI — MIAMI -- After five straight days of the media questioning his play, Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman criticized reporters at the Super Bowl yesterday by calling them "ignorant."
"You're just trying to sell papers," Grossman said. "It's frustrating because you're going off the fans' reaction. You don't know what's going on in our offense. I'm realizing how ignorant you guys are. But I don't mean that in a bad way."
Grossman was the NFL's 24th-rated passer, throwing 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
Since the Bears arrived for the Super Bowl on Sunday, Grossman and coach Lovie Smith have been asked every day about Grossman's erratic play and whether the criticism is warranted.
Smith apparently hit his breaking point with questions about Grossman, too.
"I think the criticism is what it is," Smith said yesterday. "I'll take the next question."
Is that a promise?
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs caused a little stir when he appeared to guarantee victory.
Asked whether winning the Super Bowl would increase defensive coordinator Ron Rivera's stature as a head coaching candidate, Briggs said, "He's definitely coaching this one and winning it."
Briggs later said he didn't mean for it to sound like a guarantee. It was 38 years ago in Miami that New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath guaranteed an upset of the Baltimore Colts in the third Super Bowl.
Before Ravens coach Brian Billick hired Jim Fassel as offensive coordinator in 2005, his first choice was Ron Turner, who decided to become the Chicago offensive coordinator instead.
One reason Turner went to the Bears was because it didn't require his family to move. He was the head coach at the University of Illinois from 1997 to 2004 before being fired.
"When [Billick] had an opening and he talked to me, I was very excited about it and was very, very seriously considering it," said Turner, who considers Billick a friend. "If the Chicago situation didn't come up when it did, I would be excited to be there with him."
Cleaning things up
In its annual news conference, the NFL Players Association said it wants to deter the increasing poor conduct of players off the field.
The Cincinnati Bengals have had nine players arrested over the past nine months.
"We don't want to read like a police blotter," said Gene Upshaw, the union's executive director. "We are very, very concerned about this."
Upshaw also said he is aware of the financial problems of older retired players, but it's impossible for them to have the same pension that the current generation of players will receive. The union estimates that it would take $800 million for that to happen.
If the Ravens plan to use the franchise tag on linebacker Adalius Thomas, it will cost $7.2 million, a figure that was released by the players union yesterday. By using the tag, the Ravens can keep Thomas from becoming a free agent by paying him the average of the five highest-paid linebackers. ... The Bears had a spirited 1-hour, 45-minute workout in shorts. "Wednesday you start putting in the initial game plan. Thursday, you've had a chance to go over it and get some of the kinks out," Smith said.